sirenian

noun si·re·ni·an \ sī-ˈrē-nē-ən \

Definition of sirenian

:any of an order (Sirenia) of aquatic herbivorous mammals (such as a manatee, dugong, or Steller's sea cow) that have large forelimbs resembling paddles, no hind limbs, and a flattened tail resembling a fin

sirenian

adjective

sirenian was our Word of the Day on 07/31/2010. Hear the podcast!

Recent Examples of sirenian from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sirenian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Sirenian traces back via Latin to Greek seirēn, which is equivalent to our word for the sirens of Greek mythology. And what is the connection between sirens and sirenians? Modern sirenians do not resemble the half bird, half woman creatures who lured sailors to their doom with their sweet singing. But as our example sentence states, sirenians are considered by some to underlie the ancient legends about mermaids. In European folklore mermaids were sometimes called "sirens," and apparently this confusion resulted in the granting of sirenians the name they bear today.

Origin and Etymology of sirenian

New Latin Sirenia, from Latin siren

Other Mammals Terms


Learn More about sirenian


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up sirenian? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to speak evil of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!